If you're into PCs, the Acer brand is probably quite well known to you. But the company has only just started dipping its toes seriously into the home cinema market, starting out with the 32in AT3201W LCD TV...
Somebody at Acer has clearly been swatting up on living room-friendly design, resulting in a set that's arguably the prettiest in this entire group test. Its lines are clean and modern.
Considering the AT3201W typically sells for just £899, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it sports an HDCPenabled DVI jack. This is backed up by component video inputs, two Scarts, a 15-pin D-Sub PC jack and an S-video input - everything, in short, that you could hope for at this price level.
Thanks to its aforementioned connectivity and a native resolution of 1366 x 768, the AT3201W panel is fully HD Ready.
Other key specs include a promising claimed contrast ratio of 800:1, claimed brightness of 500cd/m2, and better than average response time of 12ms. Noteworthy features include picture-inpicture tools, SRS Wow audio processing, and the rather dramatically entitled 'Scenario Mode' - actually just a set of standard picture presets...
Particularly impressive is the sheer vibrancy of this Acer's colours. Richly hued footage from the Sky News studio positively screams off screen, with intense saturations for the channel's endless parade of logos and graphics.
On skin tones, colour is reasonably natural, while the screen's black level response is good. During regular TV viewing, darker parts of the picture are black enough to convey image depth and solidity. The tougher contrast extremes from the average DVD movie grey out, but not nearly as badly as I'd feared from such an affordable TV.
The picture also avoids the sorts of dot crawl and colour banding that afflicts some budget LCD TVs, and static images look good.
When there is significant movement, though, some problems were observed. Firstly, horizontal motion can look quite juddery; moving objects can also suffer a fair bit of smearing in spite of the claimed 12ms response time, while during camera pans the picture can judder and twitch.
Also, blacks tend to take on a slightly green tone, and the screen can slightly exaggerate any MPEG noise inherent to the source.
Sonically, the screen is pleasing. The width of its soundstage is impressive, and dialogue stays locked to the screen. Predictably, audio is bass light.
How much you'll like this Acer probably depends on what you'll mostly be watching on it. If your TV diet will generally consist of RGB-delivered Sky Digital, Freeview or, perhaps, analogue HD feeds from a games machine, then it can be considered good value.
If, however, you're after a movie machine to do greatest justice to your DVDs and/or a digital connection, you'll have to accept that the price means swallowing a few compromises.